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Ripping the veil : collective memory and Black southern identity


My study investigates processed through which African Americans articulate an identification with the South through the reconstruction of cultural memories of slavery and the Civil War. The objective of the dissertation is to examine the ways in which multiple, contradictory, decentered, and fragmented subjectivities are produced and expressed through a variety of vernacular media forms. Using a mixture of interviews, historical research, and critical textual analysis, I analyze history museums foregrounding the black experience of slavery, African American Civil War reenactments, and a digital media Memory Book site. These forms enable vernacular media producers to construct narratives of the period highlighting black historical agency, connecting the history of slavery to its contemporary legacy, and recovering the emancipationist vision of the war. In so doing, they critique and revise dominant historical narratives of slavery and the Civil War that construct 19th century memory, as well as contemporary southern identity, as white

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